House of Night, Untamed Chapter 11:
After running into Erik, Zoey is feeling conflicted.
I hated feeling like this. I’d caused Erik to break up with me, but I missed him. A lot. And I still liked him. A lot. Sure, he was acting like a butt right now, but he’d caught me having sex with another man—well, another vampyre, actually. As if that mattered. Anyway, bottom line is I’d caused this mess and it was incredibly frustrating that I couldn’t fix it, because I still cared about Erik.
I love that even as she is dealing with a lot of confusing emotions, Zoey still takes the time to clarify that Loren was a vampyre. And then to point out that she’s not pointing this out because it actually makes a difference. The writing in this book is nothing if not precise and exacting.
Does anyone else get the feeling that Zoey only misses Erik so much because she doesn’t like being single?
Speaking of Zoey and boys, her friends ask her what she thinks about Stark. I really hope for the rest of the books, Zoey gets back together with Erik every time things fall apart with another boy. It would be kind of like in Parks and Recreation when Ben keeps getting a job as an accountant and all the accountants are obsessed with him, but each time he breaks their hearts to pursue something he actually wants to do.
“You spent more time with him than we did. What do you think of him?” I asked Damien, ignoring the Twins.
“He’s okay. But he seems distant. I suppose it doesn’t help that he can’t have a roommate because of Duchess. You know, that dog is really big,” Damien said.
House of Night actually sounds like the greatest school ever! Why wasn’t this an option when I went to college? Sorry, guys, I can’t share a room the size of a closet with a total asshole because I have my totally awesome dog living with me. College rules!
Zoey and Damien speculate about why Stark doesn’t want to use his amazing archery skills, so I’m guessing this is going to be An Important Thing.
The twins get invited to watch the Bourne films by their…love interests? The guys Erik hooked them up with in exchange for information about Zoey’s whereabouts once.
“Twin, I was born ready for a Bourne marathon,” Erin said. Then the Twins giggled and did a bump and grind that made the rest of us roll our eyes
Is nothing sacred anymore? This lame joke does not warrant a precious bump AND grind.
The twins invite the rest of the gang to join, but Zoey just needs some time to herself. Now that she can rest easy knowing her friends like her again, she doesn’t actually need to spend any time with them. Instead, she’s going to go see her horse again! I guess that’s Zoey’s thing this book. Hanging with her horse.
BUT FIRST Damien has a dramatic revelation:
“James Stark,” he said.
“What about him?” I said.
“James Stark is the name of James Dean’s character in the old movie,Rebel Without a Cause. I knew his name sounded familiar, but I thought it was just because he’s so famous.”
This is clearly a game changer, you guys. I can’t wait to see the big revelation about what this could mean!
“Huh,” I said. I had seen the movie—with Damien, of course—and I wondered if the name had been his before he’d been Marked. Or had he, like many kids, decided on a new name when his new life as a fledgling began. If so, that said something pretty interesting about his personality.
Does it, though?
Anyway, Damien walks Zoey to the stables, worried that she might get attacked again. I am not entirely sure why Damien’s presence would be enough to keep the evil at bay. It seems like whatever evil is lurking in the shadows could probably take on two teenagers. Possibly even three. Four if Jack is one of them.
Having Zoey and Damien get some one on one time is actually a genius move, because this gives the book more room to say really dumb things about gay guys.
I raised my brows at him. “I didn’t think you believed me about that.”
“Well, let’s just say that Aphrodite’s visions have converted me. So when you’re done communing with your horse, if you want you can give me a call on your cell. Jack and I will pretend like we’re much more butch than we are and come escort you back.”
“Oh, please. You aren’t what I’d call swishy and fluttery.”
“Well, I’m not, but Jack is.”
I was waiting for them to follow this up with, “And can you imagine if a WOMAN tried to protect you? Talk about swishy and fluttery times a hundred! At least Jack has a penis to protect you from evil. But a woman! Ha!”
Zoey hears the ominous sounds of ravens, but when Damien tells her he still believes in her, her trepidation fades away. Evil, beware.
Zoey thanks Damien for escorting her, and he heads off. Again, this chapter is really showcasing all of Damien’s finest and most distinct features:
“No problem, Z.” He smiled at me once more and then, humming “Seasons of Love” from Rent, he disappeared back down the sidewalk.
Because what the fuck else would he be humming? I guess Cher. Cher is probably the answer. I bet in like five books, Damien is going to get Jack tickets to see Celine Dione in Vegas. There is no other possible outcome.
After Damien leaves, of course Zoey runs into Stark, who is practicing his archery. He is hitting every arrow through one another, right in the bullseye. This guy is so special, and such a bad boy.
Every single arrow he’d shot had gone to the same center spot on the target. Utterly shocked, my eyes went back to Stark, who was still in his archer’s stance. And I realized what hot-guy scale he should be on: the Bad Boy Hot Scale.
And then he took a swig from a can labelled, “BAD BOY BEER”, belched, and crushed the can on his forehead. OFF DA CHARTS HOT.
Stark knows Zoey is there, and he starts asking her questions about her powers. Zoey gets extremely defensive, as though people are questioning her about this all the time.
Instead of answering, he asked me a question. “Do those special Marks of yours mean that you really have an affinity for all five of the elements?”
“Yeah,” I said, trying not to grit my teeth. I really hated to be questioned about my gifts by new kids. They tended to either hero-worship me or treat me like I was a bomb that might explode all over them at any instant. Either way it was majorly uncomfortable and definitely not flattering or intriguing
I don’t think we ever really witness these scenes where newcomers stroll up to Zoey and are in awe of her. Maybe they’re all just happening in her head?
Seriously, she’s like, “That’s not any of your business.” Except…what? She leads fucking circles every other day and is always making announcements about her stupid vampyre sorority and student council, so isn’t this just common knowledge Stark isn’t fully aware of since he’s new?
Anyway, he asks if she could protect her friends, which for some reason Zoey perceives as a threat. Despite this making no sense, Stark clarifies that he wants to share a bit about his gift with her. This leads to an intense cliffhanger.
“My gift is I can’t miss,” he finally said.
“You can’t miss? So what? Why would that have anything to do with me or my affinity with the elements?”
He shook his head again. “You don’t get it. I always hit my target, but that doesn’t mean my target is always what I aim at.”
“You’re not making any sense, Stark.”
It says a lot that Zoey is asking all the right questions.
Stark asks if Zoey has ever heard of William Chidsey, and she’s like, “Nah, I’ve only been Marked for a few months.” STILL SHOULD HAVE KNOWN WHO THE HIGHEST PRIESTESS WAS!
Turns out this dude was the best archer ever.
“Will wasn’t into politics. He was into archery. For almost two hundred years, he was the undisputed archery champion of all the vampyres.”
“Which means of all the world, because vamps are the best archers there are,” I said.
Good input, thanks, Zo.
Not only was William the best archer ever, he was also Stark’s BFF and mentor…BUT STARK KILLED HIM.
Oh man. Can you hear that? It’s the sound of all of our hearts collectively pounding.